Hi again! As my summer internship at the OSU Extension office in Tillamook County comes to an end, I’ve had time to learn and grow. Getting to experience a job working for Extension has shown me how broad the areas that Extension covers are. Working to serve the community also taught me different skills and helped me meet my summer learning objectives. 

My two biggest objectives were to improve my communication skills and increase my career awareness. With the different assignments I had – writing social media blurbs, sending emails, speaking with families at community events, and leading activities for the Juntos Afuera camp – I have been able to improve my communication skills in multiple ways. By observing different members of the office and meeting health workers in the community I was also able to get career awareness and learn the importance of the roles in extension.  

Kilchis Point Reserve in Tillamook County. Photo by Crystal Hernandez.
Kilchis Point Reserve in Tillamook County. Photo by Crystal Hernandez.

A different skill that I wasn’t expecting to learn was the ability to adapt. Having so many factors that could change made it important to be flexible in order to get tasks done. During my internship, this came into play with our second planned family night for Juntos Afuera. It was created with the help of the Tillamook County Community Health Center to create a space where Spanish-speaking families could come together to enjoy food and music with the option to get a COVID-19 vaccine. With cases rising due to the delta variant, the event had to be changed to a drive-through where families still got to enjoy food, music and have the opportunity to get vaccinated from the comfort of their cars. We decided to adapt instead of canceling because providing families with information and vaccines is important. 

Extension serves its community and this internship taught me the value of connecting with people. The events that were created were possible because of the collective help of multiple people, not just the work of one.  

 

Hueca Omeyocan, a group that performs traditional Aztec dances.
Hueca Omeyocan, a group that performs traditional Aztec dances.

Hi there, Crystal Hernandez here with an update from the Tillamook County Extension office. As I progress further into my summer internship, I’ve had an eventful first seven weeks. With Juntos Afuera, family nights, and my career exploration opportunities I have been able to see just how much Extension impacts our community.  

Extension seeks to inform, educate and connect individuals, and that is exactly what I have been able to do as a part of Juntos. We started the Juntos program this summer with Juntos Afuera, a camp that introduces Latinx high school students to recreational activities and informs them about the Latinx culture. So far, we have been kayaking and bird-watching, and we were part of the annual Tillamook County June Dairy Parade the first week of my internship. Apart from that we also had our first in-person family night at Hydrangea Ranch where Hueca Omeyocan, a group that performs traditional Aztec dances taught the families the historical importance that these dances hold in their culture. During this family night I was also able to speak with different families where they shared their interest in the Juntos program.  

Crystal Hernandez shows Juntos Afuera campers how to make a nutritional trail mix.
Crystal Hernandez shows Juntos Afuera campers how to make a nutritional trail mix.

During Juntos Afuera I’ve had a leading role where I taught the campers about xempasuchil flowers, Aztec deities and got to explore my interest in health by introducing them to a first aid and showing them how to make a nutritional trail mix. Leading these activities was a challenge but as I kept doing them, I slowly got more comfortable speaking to the group of campers and noticed how they are all slowly opening up to each other as well. 

I was once a member of Juntos but now that I am at the other side of it, I get to see how much effort and logistics an event like family night requires. Having to look for food, location, entertainment, preparing decorations and advertising is not as easy as it sounds. Making all of the pieces come together has required organizational skills and communication between everyone in the team. 

Part of my internship also gave me the opportunity to explore different careers in the health field. I was able to interview different people in the health field that have been helpful as I get closer to my start date at OSU.  

As I am quickly getting through my summer internship, I am looking forward to the next family night that is currently being planned and getting to help the campers with their Latinx identity projects that they will present to the Tillamook County Commissioners.  

Hi, Joseph O’Brien checking in. As I enter my seventh week in this internship, I can only describe my experience as fulfilling. These past few weeks, I have kept busy by working at summer camps and school programs – ranging from one day to four days (not overnight) – with Extension’s Open Campus Program. Additionally, I have been working with Umatilla County’s 4-H Program to prepare for the upcoming county fair in Hermiston.  

The first summer school program I had the opportunity to work with was in Umatilla at McNary Heights Elementary School, for youth who were interested and invited by their teachers to the STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) program held during the summer. My supervisor, Anna Browne, and I were invited to present a curriculum regarding monarch butterflies. Earlier in the year, Umatilla County was selected for a grant provided by Corteva to educate youth (K-12) in the surrounding communities about the world’s biggest natural phenomenon: the migration of monarchs. At McNary, I talked about the butterfly’s life cycle, its migration from various parts of the United States and Canada to California and Mexico for the winter, the predators that put the butterflies in danger, and the habitats required for reproduction and preservation of these majestic insects.  

Caterpillar Survival Game with milkweed

We also talked about the importance of pollinators and how big of a contribution they make to the food we eat and items we use daily. After learning and discussing this information throughout the days with the youth, we played different games. For example, one involved a milkweed plant, a caterpillar magnet, and other magnets representing predators and food. The object of the game was to pick up the food magnets off the milkweed five times with the caterpillar magnet without picking up the predator magnets that would kill the caterpillar. After completing various trials and evaluating how many larvae got the five food magnets, it was determined that about 1% of eggs live to become a butterfly. Shocking, right? 

Another summer day camp was called, “Nuts, Bolts, and Thingamajigs: Manufacturing Camp” (NBT Camp). During this camp, youth received presentations from Boardman Foods, Amazon Web Services, Blue Mountain Community College and Oregon State University faculty members, Umatilla Electric Cooperative, and the Port of Morrow. Additionally, the kids had the opportunity to design and create their own wooden speaker, work together during team-building activities each day, and give a presentation about their future careers/goals. Not only did the kids learn about all the amazing trades and work training positions located here in the Port of Morrow but I learned more about the history of the port. 

NBT Camp Wood Shop Project

I also learned how each manufacturing company/business (Lamb Weston, Oregon Potato Company, etc.) in the town of Boardman cooperates to create thousands of jobs, opportunities, and resources for those seeking them. One highlight from this weeklong camp was our trip to the SAGE Center located in Boardman. This location was selected for the new Amazon Web Services “Think Big Space” and will promote classes and opportunities surrounding STEAM for K-6 students. I was honored to sign the construction wall along with the kids with our “big ideas.”  

In the next few weeks, I will be mainly working with the 4-H program to prepare for the Umatilla and Morrow County Fair. Most individuals have a hard time working in a fast-paced environment with multiple tasks. Sometimes, people can’t handle these high-stress situations – not me though. As I am going to enter my junior year of nursing school this fall, I know these feelings all too well. I look forward to the challenges and tasks that are bestowed upon me as we enter the fair madness! All in all, I feel very privileged to have these opportunities here in Umatilla and Morrow counties. With only three to four weeks remaining, I am determined to meet more people, collaborate with more programs/organizations, and learn/obtain new knowledge. I would love to give a special thanks to those who have made my internship more memorable so far: my supervisor Anna Browne, Kim Rill, who works for the SAGE Center and helped with NBT Camp; America Pacheco an intern for the Port of Morrow and helped with NBT Camp, Kalie Davis, director of workforce development for the Port of Morrow and camp director for NBT, Shauna Newman, who works with the 4-H program here in Umatilla County, and so many others.  

Stay safe and well!  

Hello! 

My name is Crystal Hernandez, and I am a student intern for the OSU Extension office in Tillamook County. I am from Tillamook, where I spend my free time jogging around town, playing soccer, or getting ready for college. I recently graduated from Tillamook High School and will be enrolled in both Oregon State University and Linn-Benton Community College this fall. I am undecided as to what I want to pursue but I have always been interested in the medical field.  

I love spending time with my family but getting our schedules to line up has become a challenge because of our jobs. My parents have taught me the value of working for what you have and are a great example of it by working long hours, five to six days a week. Seeing how they work to provide a better opportunity for my brother and I has made me appreciate the position that I am in and motivated me to work harder.  

I am excited for this internship position especially because OSU Extension Service has already had an impact in my life. I was part of the Juntos program in sixth grade, and my brother was in high school, when my parents were able to become informed about the process of going to a university. I remember visiting the OSU campus in Corvallis where I got to learn about student life and thought about how far away I was from the day I’d go to college. I then joined Juntos once again my senior year of high school and was able to fully grasp the purpose of the club. Our main focus was our identity project that we then presented to the Tillamook County commissioners. I thought about what being Latina meant to me for the first time and continued to learn about my culture. 

Now as an intern I get to work under the supervision of Megan Deane McKenna, Dusti Linnell, and work closely with Juntos coordinator Natalie Macias. I will help prepare for the Juntos Afuera camp and plan family nights for Spanish speakers in the county. I will lead activities in the camp as well as create social media posts. During my internship I will also explore different career opportunities and join Dusti in health-related meetings. I am excited to learn how extension has impacted our communities and have the opportunity to plan activities in the Juntos Afuera camp.